A Flap Over Formula Is Coming To A Boil

The Federal Trade Commission is moving ahead in its investigation of the infant-formula industry. It has subpoenaed the records of formula manufacturers to determine whether they conspired to fix prices in their sale of formula to a federal food program for low-income women and children. State welfare agencies that administer the program have charged that the bids have been suspiciously similar.

BUSINESS WEEK reported in June, 1990, that the FTC had begun an investigation of the three companies that control most of the formula market: Abbott Laboratories' Ross Laboratories; Bristol-Myers Squibb's Mead Johnson Nutritionals; and American Home Products' Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories. The agency also has subpoenaed the records of two smaller suppliers: Carnation, a unit of Nestle, and Gerber Products.